The endangered species industrial complex


I started my tortoise career in 1990 at the Nevada Test Site for the Yucca Mountain Project and remember a concerted effort to look for a proper translocation site for tortoise ("Mojave Squeeze," HCN, 7/5/13). Dr. Kristin Berry accompanied my husband and me on our survey transect in 2001 for the Fort Irwin expansion area. She was wearing her "tortoise shell" brace from the accident, and it was all we could do to keep up with her!

Having moved into biological consulting, looking back on those years now it is apparent to me that there is a missing link to this story in HCN: the influence of money and greed in the consulting portion of tortoise biology, monitoring, surveying and conservation. There are many companies that make a substantial living off this one animal. There is a lot of competition, ego and backstabbing and often this translates to a lack of concern, empathy and regard for the overall goal of conserving this "threatened" species.  There are those out there that do care about the tortoise, and I encourage them to keep up the good work.

Julie Alpert
Kingman, Arizona

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